How to pronounce En un instant in French?

Updated: March 13, 2021 by Mylene in How to Pronounce

how to pronounce en un instant in french

Instant is a masculine noun in French that refers to an instant or a moment in English: un instant. The word instant, in the expression en un instant, has the same meaning and the same spelling in French and in English. Such words are called cognates.

Instant can refer to a very short time or a precise moment of time:

  • Il attend l’instant propice pour annoncer son mariage: He is waiting for the right moment to announce his marriage
  • Profiter de l’instant présent: Carpe diem
  • Un instant s’il vous plaît! Wait a minute please!

The preposition “en” can be translated into to, in, of, by, while. In addition, it is not always necessary to translate “en” into English. It depends on the sentence. In this expression “en” is translated into “in” in English.

How to pronounce “En un instant” in French?

En un instant is pronounced /ɑ̃.nɛ̃.n ɛ̃s.tɑ̃/.

  • /ɑ̃/: The mouth is wide open and relaxed. The tongue is back. Your vocal cords vibrate.
  • /n/: Place the front of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, behind your teeth. The tip of your tongue should touch the roof of your mouth. Vibrate your vocal cords.
  • /ɛ̃/: The mouth is slightly open and stretched horizontally, the tip of the tongue touches the front lower teeth. Your vocal cords vibrate.
  • /s/: Place the tip of your tongue lightly against the ridge behind your upper teeth but do not touch the teeth. As you push air out of your mouth, squeeze the air between the tip of your tongue and the top of your mouth. Do not vibrate your vocal cords as you make this sound.
  • /t/: Place the tip of your tongue on the ridge behind your upper teeth. As you push air out of your mouth, briefly stop it behind your tongue before releasing it. Do not vibrate your vocal cords as you make this sound. 

There are two main difficulties:

  • You need to pronounce the nasal vowels /ɑ̃/ and /ɛ̃/.
  • There are 2 liaisons: the first one is between en and un and the other between un and instant. These liaisons are pronounced /n/.

This Instagram video will show you how to pronounce the expression en un instant. It’s part of our Effortless French Words Pronunciation series.

Click the link to watch this video or directly play the video shown below.

Related Words in French

You can use another expression to say en un instant: en un clin d’oeil which means “In the twinkling of an eye”. Example:

  • Il s’est préparé en un clin d’oeil: he got ready in the twinkling of an eye
  • L’e-mail a été envoyé en un clin d’oeil: the e-mail was sent in the twinkling of an eye.

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